Richard Edwin Griffith, Jr. was born April 22, 1940 in Washington, D.C. Rick was exceptionally adventurous and never missed an opportunity to learn something new. He was highly intelligent and won first in a national science fair in his Hyattsville, MD high school. He always enjoyed solving problems for himself or anyone he could help. During college, he went on a canoe trip with his friend, Tony, for 6 weeks in Canada in a mostly unmapped area. There were definitely some life-threatening moments and problems to solve! He was also the editor, and the photographer, for the Colorado State University yearbook. It became a work of art! After his marriage in 1962 to Linda Deschamps they both joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in 1964. Both became very active in the church and they felt it was the best decision they ever made as a couple because it brought them happiness and peace.
Rick learned to fly a plane, became a SCUBA diving instructor, and became certified as an instructor in the National Rifle Association. He used every skill in teaching Boy Scouts. He loved scouting and, after retiring, spent summers at the Philmont and Scofield Scout camps. His favorite activity was sailing; he also enjoyed rock climbing and exploring caves. Hiking was part of his life and he once hiked 30 miles in one day to search for a missing Scout in the mountains. Backpacking in the Wind River Mountains in Wyoming was a favorite trip and he always took as many family members and Scouts as possible. Rick received a Silver Beaver award for his many years in Scouting.
His family learned a lot about surviving in extreme circumstances. Bathing in ice cold mountain streams was more exhilarating than enjoyed! Rick never got lost, even during mountain snow storms. He always looked ahead at consequences to avoid any injury to anyone. Linda had complete confidence in his many talents and abilities while he depended on her to assist in his projects and trips. He rarely got tired and people teased him about swallowing the Energizer Bunny batteries. He had an almost unbelievable ability to keep going and was able to accomplish more than most people even dreamed of doing. With his wife, he built two homes from the ground up and remodeled many others and helped friends as well. He served on the Planning Commission for Woodland Hills City and received the Citizen of the Year Award in 2014.
Rick worked as a Wildlife Biologist in Canada, Louisiana, Idaho, Utah, Maryland, and California. His research with ducks, nutria, rabbits, coyotes, deer and other species was helpful to many people, especially with studying Lyme Disease. He also worked with plants and studied the interactions among wildlife and humans including coyote and livestock conflicts. He tried to solve some of the coyote problems for sheep and livestock owners. He and Linda traveled to almost every state including Alaska and Hawaii (which they loved), but decided to retire in Utah where their children were living (Richard, Kathleen, Kristina, Heather, MeLisa).
Even after he became ill with Parkinson’s and Camptocormia, he never gave up helping other people. Friends that visited or helped him always enjoyed a bottle of the homemade cider he made each year. He was known as the cider man in Woodland Hills because of his generosity. Right before he died, he volunteered to help a neighbor though his ability to do so was almost gone. He donated his body to continue helping others. We greatly miss his optimism and ability to do almost anything well even with severe handicaps. He cared deeply about his family. Integrity, caring, and honesty were a way of life for him. We are sure that he is now busy helping our Heavenly Father in any way needed, just as he did while here. We loved him and the empty space in our lives is not possible to fill.